Long Eaton's Simon Skelton reaches world bowls final

Simon Skelton
Simon Skelton

Simon Skelton produced a sensational turnaround to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in his Just World Indoor Singles semi-final clash against Nick Brett and now stands one match away from a being crowned king of the world.

Brett has arguably played some of the best bowls of the tournament in reaching both Pairs finals as well as the semi-final in the Singles, and he started like an express train against a man not expected to feature in the latter stages of the tournament.

But the wheels fell off Brett’s bandwagon, while Skelton produced an unbelievable recovery to turn the match on its head and somehow claim an amazing 2-9 8-7 2-1 success.

“It’s a great feeling to get through to the final,” admitted Skelton. “Most of the way through the match I thought I was playing second best and I really feel that I have nicked the game off him. He completely outplayed me for the majority of the game, but I never give in and I delighted to have got to the final for the first time.

“I think my family will be really proud and my daughter keeps saying to me ‘you’re going to win daddy’. I have got a little bit of incentive to win it now.”

Skelton has insisted all week that he has come here to win the Singles, although that mantra didn’t seem to hold true for the first three-quarters of the match as he was comprehensively outplayed by Brett. The 2016 champion waltzed thought the first set, winning it 9-2, playing some of the finest bowls seen in the tournament this year and smoothly moved 7-1 ahead in the second with Skelton looking dead and buried.

Skelton, though, won end six, switched to a shorter jack and transformed himself from also-ran to dominant force and stormed back into the match. He still had work to do, though, needing six shots from the last three ends to trigger a three-end lottery and Brett still looked favourite to go through.

But the Long Eaton ace, who last reached this stage 10 years ago, claimed a treble on end eight and then got a brilliant result on the next springing the jack, with his red bowl rolling nicely towards the respot. Brett could not beat it and the match was prolonged.

The Huntingdon man got in first to take the first end and it was advantage Brett, but Skelton clinched the second to take the match to a dramatic finale and held shot on the last with his opponent having one bowl left.

Brett’s backhand looked to be on a lovely road in, but it stopped about an inch short and it was Skelton who punched the air in delight as he booked a final spot against Stewart Anderson.